Download retailer iTunes now sells more music in the US than some of the country's biggest traditional retailers, according to analysts.
It is predicted that downloading music will continue to increase
The Apple-owned computer store made the top 10 US record sales list for the first time, said NPD, which tracks downloads and people's buying habits.
NPD compared 12 iTunes separate song downloads to one album purchase at an ordinary retail store.
iTunes beat Tower Records, Borders, and Sam Goody, the survey said.
But it was beaten by others, including Wal-Mart and Amazon.com, NPD found.
2 Best Buy
6 Circuit City
7 Apple iTunes
8 Tower Records
9 Sam Goody
Music and movies industry analyst Russ Crupnick of NPD said he believed it was "not inconceivable" to see iTunes taking a greater lead over retailers in the future.
The research company tracks downloads from digital music stores, as well as people's purchasing habits at offline retail stores.
iTunes' move into the top 10 occurred in the past three months, NPD said.
According to figures from the Recording Industry Association of America, digital sales accounted for slightly more than 4% of the market during the first half of 2005, up from about 1.5% during the first half of 2004.
More than seven out of 10 US digital music sales through PCs are through iTunes, a figure which grows when Apple Mac users are taken into account, NPD said.